16 February 2009
Marlyn Glen has congratulated parents and medical staff in Dundee on achieving the "breakthrough figure" for MMR immunisation rates for children that experts say the general population require in order to safeguard against outbreaks of measles, mumps or rubella.
According to official figures, the percentage of 5-year olds in Dundee who have been vaccinated with a minimum of 1 dose of the MMR jab in the latest available quarter ( July to September 2008) rose to 96.9 per cent.
Ms. Glen said,
" Experts say that a comprehensive immunisation programme for a highly infectious disease such as measles needs a rate of at least 95 per cent to establish "herd immunity" and so prevent its spread to others.
" The vast majority of parents in the city regard the immunisation of their children as highly important , and medical staff are working hard to maintain this degree of success."
NHS Tayside has told Ms. Glen that because "parents in Tayside have overwhelmingly accepted" the offer of MMR vaccination of their children , "while we may be impacted in Tayside by the current UK increase in incidence of this infection, we would not expect it to occur to the same degree as south of the border. "
Ms Glen had written to the health board to ask if it was still maintaining its record of being measles- free.
Prior correspondence with the board revealed that, in October 2007, Tayside had been measles-free for the previous three years.
NHS Tayside stated that the area "had continued to experience 5 or fewer cases of confirmed measles infection per year."
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